Top Baseball Prospects for 2016
Now updated for 2016's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
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The thirteenth overall selection in the 2014 draft, Washington infield prospect Trea Turner has the eye, bat and legs to be a premium tablesetter on top of an MLB roster someday. Better than the usual crop of defense-first players with speed, Turner also brings a plus contact bat and very good plate discipline to his game, at least when he doesn't get homer happy. Hopefully the Nats will remind Turner they don't need him to be a power threat: they'll be more than happy enough with the on-base skills and superior defense he's more equipped to deliver.
More Scouting Book Info on Trea Turner
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That was quick. The Red Sox farm system, battered and beaten in recent years, has been rebuilt swiftly by new management, with infielder Yoan Moncada the jewel of the new system.
The first legal Cuban immigrant to join MLB since the Revolution, Red Sox superprospect Yoan Moncada put on showcases for a dozen MLB ballclubs before landing in Boston, who signed him to a record-shattering $31.5 million dollar deal... and that's not even counting the penalty the Sox paid for going way, way over baseball's spending rules. In joining the Red Sox, Moncada joins fellow new-American Rusney Castillo, and both players should be a part of Boston baseball for a long time to come. Moncada, who's nominally a shortstop but likely to outgrow the position, is a very strong switch hitter who drives the ball to all fields, with very advanced plate discipline for a Cuban player. His speed is plus, and while some scouts see him converting to an outfield corner, he looks better as a third baseman from here. He'll get a look in 2016, and with a strong performance, could run away with a starting job somewhere on the diamond.
More Scouting Book Info on Yoan Moncada
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One of baseball's very top prospect pitchers, Lucas Giolito is a Washington righthander with three possible plus pitches. He may have been drafted #1 overall if he hadn't been held back by UCL problems, but if he's really back at full strength now, he's the Nationals' best bet to be a future ace. And considering the depth and quality of that system, that's really something. With a stable of quality arms at all stages of development, the Nats are better-poised, pitching-wise, for the coming decade than any team in baseball. Think of them as the anti-Cubs.
More Scouting Book Info on Lucas Giolito
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A lukewarm cup of coffee in 2015 has some observer's down on Twin phenom Byron Buxton, but things like plus base-stealing ability and plus-plus defense are not skills that deteriorate. While it might take a bit longer than hoped, Buxton remains a future star. At the plate, he's a line-drive hitter with a little pop, and more power expected in the years to come. Minnesota is well-known for cooking their prospects until they're well-done, and he has a scary wrist injury to come back from in 2015, so don't expect him to light up scoreboards right away, but don't forget about him, either. He'll be around for a long time.
More Scouting Book Info on Byron Buxton
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A big, slugging lefthander from the Dominican Republic, Ranger prospect Nomar Mazara has never lacked for strength, though his ability to put the bat cleanly on the ball isn't always quite up to snuff. Still, he took enough of a step forward in the minors last year (.296/.366/.443 in a year split between Round Rock and Frisco) to raise his lifetime average by 40 points. In the field, he's a bit slow but has a strong arm, projecting as a league-average right fielder.
More Scouting Book Info on Nomar Mazara
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The first player drafted overall in 2015, Georgia native Dansby Swanson sent shockwaves through baseball when he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in the winter of 2015 for a package that included ace Shelby Miller. Swanson, who immediately becomes Atlanta's top prospect and is one of the best shortstop prospects in all of baseball, is a five-tool threat who is expected to stick at shortstop. Swanon's best year in college was his final one, when he slashed a .348/.441/.648 line with 14 home runs for Vanderbilt. Pending a serious drop-off as he adjusts to professional pitching, Swanson looks like a near-lock to be a part of the Braves plan for the next decade.
More Scouting Book Info on Dansby Swanson
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A towering righthander who's as good at intimidating hitters as he is at actually throwing baseballs, Pirate prospect Tyler Glasnow might not be as well-known as some of Pittsburgh's other pitching prospects, but his ceiling is at least as high. He doesn't command his fastball perfectly, but isn't afraid to use it inside as well as outside, which is enough to keep hitters skittish. Glasnow also shows a big curve on occasion that's impressive when it works, and a changeup that's rough but promising. He's firmly a prospect of the 'good stuff, needs to master it' type. Another year of easy repetition, though, and he should be Show-ready. Give him another hundred innings or so, then let him fly.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Glasnow
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A future star already shaking the launch pad in Milwaukee, shortstop Orlando Arcia will make a play to be the everyday Brewers shortstop this season, and his talent level is more than enough to make it likely he'll succeed. A quick righthanded bat with a very strong line-drive swing should be enough to keep him in the lineup, while slick glovework and plus range suggest he'll stick at shortstop, too. Get used to the name.
More Scouting Book Info on Orlando Arcia
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Originally drafted out of high school by the Mets, Astro first base prospect AJ Reed elected to continue his education at Kentucky instead, reentering the draft in 2014. It paid off, as the slugger, now 240lbs and coming off a College Player of the Year award, was taken as the first player off the board in round two, this time by the Astros. Reed's slashline in his senior year (.336/.476/.735) was topped off by 23 home runs (best in the NCAA) and threw in ace-level mound work as the team's Friday starter to boot.
A dream slugger, Reed combines real plus power with the kind of mature batting eye usually only seen in singles hitters. He's not afraid to take bad strikes, or to foul them off, waiting for a pitch he can drive, and he hits as well when behind in the count as any young player in baseball. In the field he's an adequate first baseman who should get better with practice -- he usually served as a DH when not pitching in college -- but even if he ends up a designated hitter for the Astros, he's going to be a very good one.
More Scouting Book Info on AJ Reed
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Top Prospects 2013